Emotional wellbeing is crucial to having an enjoyable and successful time at university. While athletes need to look after their bodies, students need to look after their minds in order to perform well.
Invest some time in learning how to look after your physical, emotional and mental health and many of the difficulties that students bring to counselling can be avoided!
What should I do if I'm experiencing personal, emotional difficulties?
That depends on the kind of difficulties you are having and what impact this has on your day to day functioning. Many of the difficult feelings that students bring to counselling are normal responses to things that happen in life, and they don't need the professional help of a counsellor or psychologist. Learning about how your mind works and about how to cope with these difficult feelings is an important part of psychological development during the late adolescent/early adult transiton. Approx. a third of those who seek counselling can be helped to find ways of learning these skills in one meeting and don't need counselling. However, for some students there are long standing mental health difficulties which will need on-going support, much more than we can offer in ACS. The counselling team aims to work with students between these two extremes where the greatest benefits will be gained from brief counselling. When trying to decide whether you need to see a counsellor, consider these options:-
If you or someone you know is at a point of crisis and needs to speak to someone immediately please use the help available on our Help in a crisis page.
Self-help - understanding your emotions and developing coping skills
If you are feeling depressed, anxious or stressed but are still managing, more or less to function, attend classes, complete course work and socialise, then you may find it helpful to do some work on yourself, to make sense of what you are feeling and learn new ways of coping. There are a huge range of resources availbale to help you do this on our Self help and common problems pages - see menu on the left.
If you already know you have a mental health difficulty
If you have been given a diagnosis, or have previously had counselling or medication for emotional problems then your first port of call should be the Mental Health Co-ordinator. Their role in the university is to put in place the support you need to minimise the impact of your mental health difficulty on your academic performance and enjoyment of student life. They can help you to access academic support, offer regular mental health mentoring and can liaise with your academic school with your consent, so that they understand what you need to help things run smoothly. If they think that counselling might also be helpful they can refer you to our service.
If in doubt speak to your academic school
If you are worried because problems you are having have prevented you from attending classes, delayed submission of course work or made it impossible to sit an exam, then you need to speak to your Student Support Officer as soon as possible. This is the first thing we will advise if you come to counselling with these difficulties, as quite often we find that once a plan is in place to remedy the academic issues, the emotional problems can dissipate or at least feel a lot less intense.
Your GP can help you too
If your personal, emotional difficulties are having a serious impact on your functioning it's important that your GP knows this as they are legally responsible for your well-being. If you are having problems sleeping or eating, or if you are unable to study, or socialise, a GP can support you to access NHS mental health services and can prescribe medication to help you get back on track. If you have not been attending lectures/seminars; missed coursework deadlines or feel unfit to sit exams your GP can provide documentary evidence to support extenuating circumstances, so it's important they know if you are struggling before things become too serious.
Make an appointment to meet with a counsellor
During a 50 minute appointment we will try to get as full a picture as possible of your current situation and to provide you with guidance and information to help you get back on track. For many students this will be enough but if it seems useful to have a further appointment(s) this can also be arranged. For further details of how to see a counsellor and the kinds of face to face support you may be offered please see here.